Jacob spent the next few days doing things around the house to keep himself busy when he wasn't exercising or practicing Occlumency. Hermione came over one day - she and the Weasleys had been sent back to Grimmauld Place after what had happened with Arthur Weasley. The Weasley patriarch was still in the hospital, but according to Mrs. Weasley, he was expected to improve. That made him feel a little better, at least. At least he was still alive, though he wasn't sure his conflicted feelings on the matter would ever disappear. Upon mentioning this to Hermione, his friend just smiled at him.
"Jacob, don't worry about it," she said. "If you hadn't had it, Mr. Weasley would probably have died. You stopped it from being any worse, and on another note, your Occlumency must be working, because who knows, maybe it would have been like a full-blown dream." He had to admit that she had a point. Draco had told him pretty much the same thing. Hermione's response to that was, "Yes, well… he's relatively intelligent when he's not being a prat."
"He's always a prat, I just don't mind it that much anymore," Jacob told her.
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "I noticed," she said, causing Jacob to smile back at her.
"So, how are things back at Grimmauld Place?"
She shrugged. "Ron is being oddly quiet and avoiding me lately. I can't figure out what he's up to, and honestly, I don't care anymore, so I'm just ignoring him and hanging with Ginny," she explained. "Sirius and Remus have been spending… a lot of time alone together for some reason, more so than I remember this summer. Mrs. Weasley says it's nothing, but... I don't know…" She sighed. "I've just been reading and going over the schoolbooks when I'm not with Ginny."
"Again?" She typically did that at the beginning of the school year.
The bushy-haired witch gave him a friendly glare. "I want to make sure I'm prepared!"
"Hermione, you're the top student in school. The only class that you get beat in is Potions," he said. "I think you'll be fine. Even Draco doesn't study as much as you do."
"Oh, yes, and I can imagine what Draco is busier with," Hermione said. "Studying you, perhaps?" She had a knowing smirk on her face.
A deep blush crossed Jacob's face at that remark because, honestly, she was right. They did study, but their study sessions always turned into snogging sessions. "And yet, he still manages to make top marks, even with us cutting our studying sessions short," he told her, she just laughed.
It felt good to have Hermione over. He hadn't expected to see her the entire holiday, especially since he wasn't seeing Draco again until the day of the party. When mentioning that to Hermione, she thought it sounded like it could be fun, though a Malfoy Party would probably be a bit stuffy, or so she thought. She also figured that he should have expected stuff like this dating the Malfoy Heir. She was right, of course, but then again, wasn't she always? She did tell him to have a good time, though, before she left, and he certainly hoped he would. He also hoped that Draco would like his present.
On the day of the party, Jacob left the house early. He was wearing normal clothing but had his dress robes with him for later. He had promised his boyfriend that he would go over before the party - hours before - so that he could be taught how to "dance properly". He was forced to admit that he probably did need some pointers on the subject, because he had never been taught how to do that without stepping on someone's toes, literally. It wasn't as if Hogwarts had offered basic dancing lessons.
He Flooed over and was greeted by a House Elf, who lead him to a large ballroom. It was all decked out for Christmas - a stage was set at the top of the room, and Christmas decorations were everywhere - a large Christmas tree, with lights and garland all around the hall. It was definitely festive, though he noted that there wasn't a personal touch about the place at all. It was formal and stuffy, almost as if the room was designed by someone who took a page out a book on the subject and told their staff to do it just like instructed.
"Jacob!" Draco called out from a table on the right side of the room. There were some tables gathered on the front side of the room where he was standing, presumably for eating food and making small talk. A long table was set up on the opposite side of the room, presumably for food and drinks for the party tonight. Draco was at one of the tables near the dance floor. Pansy was there with Theodore, and Salenia and Marcus were there, too.
Jacob made his way over to the group and was immediately greeted by his boyfriend, who put an arm around his neck and kissed him quite firmly. "Hello to you, too," he said with a smile.
Draco snapped his fingers, and the House Elf reappeared. "Take Mr. Snape's dress robes up to my room," he ordered. The Elf bowed and took Jacob's robes before disappearing. "I'm glad you're here," he said, turning back to Jacob. "Are you hungry, thirsty?"
Jacob shook his head. He had already eaten, and besides, he was more worried about actually dancing and not making a fool out of himself. The last thing he wanted was for everyone to start laughing at him because he was such a horrible dancer. Would Draco even want to dance with him if that were the case? What would he do then? Sit around while everyone else had fun because he was still Draco's date? "No, I'm fine," he said, hoping he sounded more confident than he felt.
Draco snapped his fingers and ordered him a water anyway, seeming to ignore that he had said he wasn't thirsty. Either that, or he assumed that he really was - or would be soon. The water was delivered soon, and Jacob found that he really was a bit thirsty. After taking a sip, Draco grabbed his hand and started pulling onto the dance floor. Pansy and Theodore weren't really dancing, but standing there talking to Marcus and Salenia. They were laughing as Jacob and Draco came up. "Okay, now, this really isn't that difficult," he said, he said, putting one hand on his waist.
"Come on, would you stop doing that!" Draco snapped a while later. "I'm trying to do the basics, and you keep fighting me on it!"
Jacob was honestly not trying to fight him on it, but it seemed he always managed to take a wrong step. "I'm trying, I promise," he said, looking down at his feet, trying to memorize where they were supposed to go and when. This was so out of his comfort zone. He was trying to listen to Draco, but it just seemed as if there was so much more to remember than he could handle. He knew the blonde was getting frustrated, but what he was he supposed to do? He really was trying!
"I can't believe I'm going to say this, but you're thinking too much," Draco said. "Just listen and follow me."
"I'm trying!" This came a lot easier to him than it did to Jacob.
"Then stop looking down at your feet!"
"But I have to see what I'm -"
"No, you don't," he ordered. "You look at me." Jacob glanced up at Draco, but then immediately looked back down at his feet. A moment later, there was a pair of long fingers around his chin, and he was suddenly looking back up into Draco's gray eyes. "No, look at me. You don't need to look at your feet. Now, just let me lead and stop fighting me on this, okay?"
"Okay, I'll try." He forced his eyes to stay on Draco. "I'm not trying to fight you, I promise. I just really have no idea what I'm doing."
A smirk crossed Draco's face. "I noticed," he said, pressing a light kiss to his lips. Marcus had piped up not too long ago that if he really didn't know what he was doing, just to let Draco lead him. It would be easier on both of them because Draco did know what he was doing "Now, are you ready?" He wasn't, but he nodded and let Draco lead him, trying not to think as much - since apparently he was doing too much of that right now. Maybe by tonight, he could manage to not make a fool out of himself.
With a couple of hours to go to the party, Salenia and Pansy went home. With the girls gone, Theodore bowed out, saying he would be back later. He hadn't been invited, but he was coming as Astoria's date. Marcus left, too, having no real reason to stay without his best friend. Draco and Jacob made their way up to Draco's room. "See, you weren't doing that badly by the end," his boyfriend said, trying to be encouraging.
"I just… don't want to make a fool out of myself, that's all," he admitted.
Draco shook his head. "As long as you just have fun with it, you'll be fine," he said. "You act as if I really care if you're as good at this as I am. I was just trying to help you out, so you don't step on my feet all night." There was a light smirk playing on his pale lips, showing that he was trying to lighten the mood a bit.
Jacob couldn't help but chuckle a bit at that. "Fair enough," he said, "and I don't think I was by the end of it."
"No, you were not, because you started letting me lead and do most of the work," he said, which only made Jacob chuckle. "At least, for now, it won't seem too bad once you get the hang of it. I think you were just worried about nothing. You'll be fine, once you stop worrying about it so much, and just… dance with me. That's what I was trying to get you to do all afternoon, but all you could do was just stare at your feet and one-two-one-two."
Jacob hadn't thought about it like that, but he supposed that made sense. After all, Draco had been trying to tell him the entire to stop worrying. He had told him that he needed to loosen up and just try and go with it a bit more, but he hadn't listened because he had been so obsessed with doing everything just right. Perhaps that hadn't been the point at all? He wasn't sure, but he knew that he did want to have fun, or at least try to until he and Draco could slip away.
The party was overwhelming, to say the least. Draco was in his element - the proud son of the Malfoys, who apparently hosted this party every year. It wasn't just the big wigs at the Ministry, through, like Draco had told him originally. There were also rich people there. He supposed anyone who was anyone had been invited. Most of their group was there - the only ones missing were Elizabeth, Tracey, and Millicent. Everyone else was here, even though Theodore was here a date, just like him. Even Neville was here, seemingly having been dragged by his grandmother. He was currently sitting over in the corner of the room, staring. He didn't seem to be having any fun at all.
Jacob wanted to go over and talk to him, even though Neville was friends with Harry Potter and not Jacob Snape. However, every time he tried, he was dragged somewhere else by Draco. It was exactly his scene, and he knew exactly what to do and when to do it. He was just his poor sap of a date, who had to be reminded to actually smile and not just scowl all the time. Luckily, the blonde was pretty good at being able to make him smile when he needed to. All it usually took was his boyfriend smiling at him, or squeezing his hand, and Jacob usually couldn't help but smile back.
Draco had momentarily gone off to talk with Pansy and Blaise, leaving Jacob with a brief respite from all of the activity. He whispered that he was going to get a drink, to which his boyfriend replied with, "Get me one, too, please, and thank you." He rolled his eyes and made his way over to the refreshment table. He grabbed two, fully intending to stay there by himself. Since he was no longer someone important, no one really gave a flying fuck what he was doing or who he was. He was just some kid at a party, and it was really nice to be ignored. Especially with all the negative press about him saying that he and Dumbledore were lying about Voldemort, he doubted he would be able to stand here by himself.
"How are you enjoying the festivities tonight, young Jacob?" A familiar voice asked from his right. Jacob's head snapped around to see Lucius Malfoy standing there before him. He quickly glanced around, but Draco was nowhere in sight. Narcissa was standing a few feet away, talking to someone. He looked back up at the host of the party. He remembered the height difference being much greater. He hadn't noticed it last time he had been here during the summer, but he did notice it now. Of course, Mr. Malfoy still had a few inches on him.
"Er, fine," Jacob responded, feeling incredibly awkward and wondering why Lucius would be coming over to talk to him. "It's a wonderful party. Everything is great. I was just getting drinks for me and Draco. He's busy talking at the moment. You know how he is." Oh, yes, that's right - he was dating his son. That's why he was here. After all, they had only met that one time during the summer. Then he had been told a couple of months later by his son via a letter that they were now dating. Of course, he was talking to him. Why wouldn't he be?
"Yes, I am quite aware," he said. It looked like he might say something, but it was hard to read to him. He was sure that he had a few things to say, but he wondered if he was holding back because this wasn't exactly the right time to be questioning him about anything. Is that what he was going to do? Jacob honesty had no idea, but he didn't really want to wait around to find out.
"I should really get back," Jacob said. "It was nice talking to you. Mr. Malfoy." It had definitely not been, but he had a feeling that it wouldn't be the last time. Taking the opportunity while he had it, he hurried off through the crowd and back to where Draco was still standing, talking to Pansy and Blaise. "Here you go." He handed the cup to Draco.
"About time, what happened?" Draco asked. "Did you get lost or something?"
"Or something," Jacob responded, taking a sip of his own. "Your father happened."
That got Draco's attention. He immediately turned to face him. "He did? What did he say? He didn't interrogate you or anything, did he?"
Jacob shook his head. "No, he didn't. I left before he got the chance. I have a feeling it won't be the end of that conversation, though." Draco had mentioned he was not the ideal Malfoy companion, whatever that was supposed to mean. He could infer a lot, though. He was starting to realize now that by dating Draco, he wasn't just dating Draco, but Draco's parents, too. There was a lot more that went into being his boyfriend than he had realized. Not that it mattered, of course, because he wouldn't trade Draco in for anyone.
"Probably not, but you're not here to worry about that," Draco said, downing the rest of his drink and setting it on a nearby table. "Let's go dance."
Jacob groaned, but he set his cup down, as well. "Again? But we did that already. Multiple times."
"Shut up and dance with me," Draco said, grabbing his hand dragged him along. He was apparently not taking no for an answer, not that Jacob had expected anything else. He had always fully intended to go dance with him anyway.
Jacob just chuckled. "Yes, sir," he said, with a smirk on his face.
"Mmm, sir, I like the sound of that," Draco said, but any further conversation was cut off as they were swallowed up by the dance floor and the music.
A few more dances later, and Jacob was tired. He needed a break. "I just want to go sit down for a bit, okay? Please?" He didn't mind so much anymore, but he was still tired. Draco would be happy if they spent the entire time talking and dancing, but he needed a break from it all. He hoped they were going to break away soon. Draco had promised him that they never stayed for the entire time and always ended up breaking away. Hopefully, that time was coming up soon.
Draco rolled his eyes but allowed Jacob to leave. He got a snack and another drink and headed off to find a table. Some of the guests were milling around the tables talking. He spotted Neville, still looking quite bored and out of place. He made his way over to him. "Mind if I sit down?" Neville looked up as if he hadn't heard of him, a confused look on his face. He gestured to an empty seat at the table. Neville hesitated for a moment, before nodding.
Jacob sat down a couple of seats away from him. "You don't look like you're having too much fun," he said, hoping to strike up a conversation. They weren't friends - in fact, since his change, they had never even spoken.
Neville shrugged. "I didn't really want to come at all," he said. "I begged my Gran to let me stay home, but she said I had to come if she did. It was good for me, she said." It didn't look as if Neville agreed with her statement at all. "I told her I wasn't friends with anyone here, but it didn't matter. So I've been sitting here eating and drinking." He had a few cups around him, and some plates, he noticed.
"It's not really my scene, either," he admitted. "I came because my boyfriend asked me to be his date. What was I supposed to say to that? It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be."
Neville looked at him as if he was wondering what to think about all this. He had to know that he and Hermione were friends, but he didn't blame him at all for being nervous around him - he was a Slytherin, and none of the Slytherins had ever been nice to him. "I probably would, too, if I had a date," he said.
Jacob laughed. "Probably, that's a good point," he said. "I just wished he'd let me rest more. He wants to mingle and dance, and just… That's not my thing. I don't mind it. Of course, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. Which probably wouldn't bother me at all."
Neville seemed to loosen up a bit as the conversation went on. "I can imagine. I wish Gran wouldn't insist that I need to come. She hates it, too, so why do I have to come?"
"Why does she hate it?" Jacob asked.
"She hates the Ministry and feels that most everyone here are hypocritical arseholes," Neville said, so matter-of-factly that he almost thought he'd misunderstood him.
After a moment, Jacob let out a light laugh. "Yeah, she's probably pretty spot-on there," he said. "At least you're not dating the son of the host. Lucius Malfoy tried to corner me earlier, and I got out of there as fast as I could."
Neville laughed. "I don't blame you at all on that one, I wouldn't want him cornering me, either," he said, right as his grandmother came over.
"Neville, it's time to go," she said. "I'm getting tired of these people. Let's go home." She seemed to notice that Jacob was there. "Who is your friend?"
"Oh, this is Jacob Snape," he said. "I'll see you next year, I suppose. Bye." Neville gave him a small wave.
Jacob waved back and was sitting there for no longer than a minute before Draco sought him out. "Okay, enough time sulking here by yourself," he said. "Let's get out of here." Finally. He was so glad to slip away with his boyfriend, and have it just be the two of them again.
As soon as they got up to Draco's bedroom, the blonde grabbed him and pulled him into a kiss. Jacob was not complaining because he had missed him. It was weird not seeing him every day, and he had not been in the best mood. He slipped his arms around Draco's waist as his boyfriend temporarily broke their kiss. "I don't think I told you, but you clean up very well, Snape," he said.
"You did tell me that, before the party, but I appreciate the compliment still," he said. "It certainly helps if my boyfriend finds me attractive. You look quite fit yourself."
"I would hope so," Draco said. "It takes time to look this good." Jacob just chuckled and silenced any other words with a kiss, which the blonde eagerly returned. He went to work unbuttoning the dress robes before slipping it off his shoulders. Draco had been working on the buttons of his own dress robes, and soon those were off his shoulders, too, leaving them both in black slacks and white button-up shirts that they had worn underneath.
A moment later, there was a knock on the door, and the door opened to reveal Pansy, Daphne, Theodore, Blaise, and Astoria - all having escaped the party going on downstairs. "Really?" Pansy said with a roll of her eyes. "We leave you alone for two minutes, and you two are snogging already." A small smile played on her lips as they entered, indicating that she was probably joking, but with Pansy, you could never be too sure.
"Try living with them," Theodore said in a very droll manner, getting some laughs from their friends.
"For your information, this is my room, my house, and I can do whatever I damn well please, and that includes snogging my boyfriend if I so choose," Draco said, though he did pull away a bit, picking up his dress robes as he went to sit on his bed. Jacob just shook his head, picking up his own robes before sitting next to him.
"It's called a locking charm," Blaise said, leaning against the edge of the four-poster.
Draco glared at him. "Watch it, Zabini, or I'll throw you out," he said. All in all, it hadn't been that bad of a night, though, all things considered. He wasn't looking forward to Christmas Dinner with the Malfoys - as they had been invited. At least his father would be there to act as a buffer so that he couldn't get cornered by Lucius again. He was a bit nervous about exchanging gifts, though, but figured he knew that Draco would love what he got him.
It was late when Jacob arrived back home, so it was strange to see a light coming from the living room. He found Severus waiting up for him in the living room. He was sitting on the couch, a book in a hand. "You didn't stay up waiting for me, did you, Dad?"
Severus shook his head. "No, of course not," he replied. "You were at the Malfoys. I knew perfectly well where you were, and how late you would be." He put his bookmark back in his book. "How was the party? Did you enjoy yourself?"
Jacob shrugged his shoulders. "Well enough, I suppose," he said. "It was better when we went upstairs - all us kids, I mean - and just talked up in Draco's room. The party itself was fine, just… too many adults, too much of everything for me. It's not really my scene."
"Exactly why I never go," Severus said, standing up, leaving the book on the table, as he began walking in his direction. "Even though Lucius invites me because we are friends, I see no reason to bother with any of that nonsense. I would much rather be here, reading a good book. Parties have never been anything I have been interested in. I dread every time there is a staff get-together."
"There are staff get-togethers?" Jacob tried to picture all the Hogwarts staff - Hagrid, Dumbledore, McGonagall, et all - standing around, drinking and talking and laughing. The picture was so odd; he had to shake it off. He couldn't imagine that there was such a thing.
"Oh, of course," his father said. "Dumbledore insists that we celebrate the end of the every school year, to commemorate that we all made it through unscathed." Jacob chuckled, pretty sure that those were his father's words and not Dumbledores. "As it is, it is getting rather late. I wished to finish my chapter. I am going to retire for the evening."
"Yeah, me too, I'm exhausted," Jacob said, following his father upstairs. They bid each other goodnight as they parted ways at Jacob's door. For once, he was truly tired. After changing into his nightclothes, he laid down in bed. After he had finished his mental exercises, he was fast asleep; Moirai curled up into his side.